10 Hotels That Look Like They Are From Another Planet
The more we travel and seek out new hotels, the more we uncover properties that wow us with their striking architecture and design. The hotels we visit these days aren't just places to rest our heads — they're destinations unto themselves. From Canada to Chile, these 10 left a lasting impression.
Michelle is the travel writer, photographer and wanderer behind the site Livelikeitstheweekend.com. She has spent the last two years on the road working from a laptop and exploring some of the most beautiful places around the globe. You can see her travel highlights over on her Instagram @Livelikeitsthewknd
Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica, Chile
It’s hard to believe that Montaña Mágica Lodge in Chile’s Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve was built with human hands. The lush cone shaped structure resembles something you might find in a Lord of the Rings film, featuring a permanent waterfall that flows between guests windows. It’s the perfect setting, really, for visitors to enjoy the surrounding natural reserve in the heart of the Chilean Patagonian Rainforest. Guests can explore the nearby Huilo-Huilo Falls, ride on the longest zip line system in South America, then end the day with a decadent spa treatment back at the hotel.
Treehotel, Swedish Lapland
Owned and built by Swedish Lapland locals, Kent Lindvall and Britta Jonsson, the Treehotel is a work of untamed imagination that seamlessly blends with the surrounding natural landscape. Located in Harads, a village of only 600 and not far from the Arctic Circle, the Treehotel includes a collection of seven suspended tree-top accommodation–all with a unique design. We love the Mirrorcube (a 2 person treehouse featuring mirrored walls), the Bird’s Nest (a larger-than-life-sized treehouse that looks exactly how it sounds), and the UFO (the most futuristic-looking of the bunch).
Crazy House, Da Lat, Vietnam
Hằng Nga guesthouse, more commonly known as the “Crazy House” in Da Lat Vietnam is a place where fairy tale visions come to life. Vietnamese architect Đặng Việt Nga doesn’t use blueprints or standard architectural planning devices — instead, Nga creates paintings of her ideas and then hires local craftsmen to bring her artworks into physical form. Since its official opening in 1990, the house has been under perpetual construction, constantly changing and expanding, but one common theme remains — there are almost no right angles and straight lines, only the natural twists and turns inspired by organic structures found in nature.
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Encuentro Guadalupe, Mexico
Set in the rocky hillside of Mexico’s up and coming wine region in the Guadalupe Valley (just two hours south of San Diego), Encuentro Guadalupe is a design-conscious property that seems more fitting for a lunar colony. Grupo Habita used materials—steel, wood, glass–from the Baja California region to build the 20 stilted, box-like cabins, which dot 244 acres.
Skylodge Adventure Suites, Peru
Travelers making their way through Peru’s Sacred Valley will be shocked at first sight of Sky Lodge Adventure Suite’s transparent hanging capsules that seem to stick to the cliffside like barnacles. But if you’re in on the secret, you know that this is Peru’s most adventurous place to stay. Guests who dare to sleep 1300 feet above ground need to climb or hike to reach their bedroom— but the challenge is worth it thanks to the 300 degree views of the mystical Sacred Valley.
Hotel Sidi Driss, Tunisia
Take one look at Tunisia’s Hotel Sidi Driss, and it’s easy to see why George Lucas picked the Berber-style structure as the setting for Tatooine in his Star Wars films. The sandstone caverns are simple, with shared bathrooms and tiny bedrooms, but you’re really here to experience what it’s like to live in a galaxy far, far away.
Hotel Puerta América, Madrid
A unique design project that combines talent from 19 of the top architects and designers in the world–Norman Foster, Teresa Sapey, Vittorio & Lucchino, Jean Nouvel, and Arata Isozaki, to name a few–Hotel Puerta América in Madrid is just as much a livable museum as it is a hotel. Each floor of the property was the brainchild of a different visionary. One of our favorites: the Zaha Hadid floor, which was designed with floor-to-ceiling white fiberglass, and no straight lines in sight.
Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada
Inspired by the glamping and treehouse hotel trend, Free Spirit Spheres puts a futuristic spin on the back-to-nature experience. The three spherical structures look like eyeball-esque spaceships, with circular windows that look out onto the Canadian forest. Set among the coastal rainforest of Vancouver Island, it’s the ultimate adults-only playground.
Viceroy Los Cabos, Mexico
If hotel staff were suddenly replaced by robots and drones delivered your morning breakfast in bed, you might imagine this all taking place at a setting like the Viceroy Los Cabos on Mexico’s Sea of Cortes. Formerly known as Mar Adentro, The Viceroy Hotel Group claimed ownership of the modernist design-lover’s dreamscape, and puts its own renovations and finishing touches on the waterfront landmark before reopening in May 2018. While certain elements have changed, it’s still the vision of stark beauty conceptualized by architect Miguel Angel Aragonés. With electric-white buildings seemingly floating on the sides of an elevated walkway that runs through a series of reflecting pools, the stunning structure acts as a blank canvas — albeit a very forward-thinking one. Guests are there to take in the surrounding beach views and dramatic desert landscape undistracted by commotion or chaotic design.
Ion Adventure Hotel, Iceland
The geometric aluminum exterior of Iceland’s ION Adventure hotel juts out of the countryside like a robotic caterpillar, providing head on views of the surrounding landscape. The once abandoned inn revamped by design studio Minarc is now one of the country’s premier luxury hotels and holds prime real estate near Thingvellir National Park. The otherworldly vibe extends to the interiors as well, which is done up in salvaged driftwood, concrete and lava.
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